Families bond over baby animals at Sweetapple Farm

Photo by Doug Loyer Terry Casto, of Fleming, watches his kids, Kinsley Casto, 5, and Layton Casto, 4, pet a baby goat.

MARIETTA — On Mother’s Day weekend, moms want to spend quality time with their family.

On Saturday, Sweetapple Farm in Vincent held its annual Farm Animal Baby Shower and opened up the farm so moms and everyone could enjoy a fun-filled, family oriented afternoon.

Held every Mother’s Day weekend, the Sweetapple Farm Animal Baby Shower offered a chance for families to see baby chickens, goats, ducks, rabbits as well as donkeys, pigs, cats and even Ambrose the dog.

“This is Sweetapple Farm’s 20th year and we’ve had this Farm Animal Baby Shower for several years now,” said owner Mona Barrett. “We have a big turnout for this. We do this event because we want to give back to the community. It’s a wonderful time of the year for the children to get to see the baby animals and have a good time. Mother’s Day is all about family and this is a day for family.”

The multi-generational, family-friendly event gave kids a chance to milk wooden cows, create crafts such as scarecrows and pine cone bird feeders plus do some coloring with crayons. The Farm Animal Baby Shower was free and encouraged donations for the local food pantry.

Photo by Doug Loyer Emmy Fullerton pets a baby goat at the Animal Baby Shower event at Sweetapple Farm.

“We come every year,” said Terry Casto, of Fleming, who enjoyed the day with his wife and kids, Kinsley Casto, 5, and Layton Casto, 4. “Our kids love it.”

“It’s a good time and the kids love to see the animals and being outside,” said Casto. “We try to make this a tradition for Mother’s Day weekend.”

The picturesque Sweetapple Farm has been in the family since 1940 and now is a destination for educational fun in addition to a place to purchase farm fresh food and seasonal delights.

Other popular activities Saturday included hay rides through the rolling farmland and venturing behind the old farm house to see the kitchen garden, herb garden and scent garden areas. There were also cutouts for picture taking opportunities and a chance to get into a huge 400 lb. bird’s nest.

If that were not enough, the kids could also sit on a bench or on large rocks and listen to nursery rhymes. Karen Schwendeman, of Fleming, who dressed for the occasion, read “Mother Goose” to the children under the shade of beautiful old pine trees.

Photo by Doug Loyer The Sweetapple Farm in Vincent is a great family-oriented destination.

“I have grandkids and I love reading to them,” said Schwendeman. “I love this. It’s a nice family event.”

Holly Csizmadia’s kids, Hailee Tucker, 9, and Heaven Tucker, 6, attended the animal shower and got a chance to get their photo taken with Schwendeman in her themed outfit.

“I saw this on Facebook and wanted to get my kids out and about,” said Csizmadia, of Waterford. “This is the first time we’ve been here. We’ve seen the animals, we’re going on the hay ride and we’ll also visit the garden area.”

Candice Armstrong, of Layman, seemed to enjoy it all, especially the ducks.

“This Animal Baby Shower is different. I come every year,” said Armstrong. “It’s very educational. Many kids don’t always get a chance to see any of this and I enjoy it as well. It’s a good experience for kids. It’s something nice to do for Mother’s Day weekend and it’s a great thing to enjoy as a family. I love the ducks and like talking with them. I used to have ducks myself when I was little. They’re a little messy, but nice.”

Photo by Doug Loyer The hay ride was popular at the Sweetapple Farm Animal Baby Shower.

“This is the first time for us coming to the Animal Baby Shower,” said Mercedes Fullerton, of Parkersburg, as her daughter Emmy Fullerton, 5, was petting a baby goat. “We’re having a good time.”

Karen Duggan, of Parkersburg, who attended with her granddaughter, said having the Animal Baby Shower on Mother’s Day weekend made it easy for her to remember the event.

“We try to come to here every spring and fall if we can,” said Duggan. “I think that this event is wonderful. I think that it is awesome that they open up their whole farm for the public.”

Photo by Doug Loyer Candice Armstrong of Layman enjoyed seeing the ducks.

Photo by Doug Loyer Karen Schwendeman reads “Mother Goose” to kids sitting behind the farmhouse.